It was one of those mornings… the kind when you just want to just crawl back in bed and beg for a “do over.” I look forward to Thursdays because it is the one day a week that I get to do something for me, my Women’s Bible Study. Jake and Lilly love it too, because they get a break from Mommy and the church nursery is stocked with crackers, which lately is the clearest path to their hearts.
This morning I tried, I really tried. I tried not to let it get to me that Jake woke up before my alarm (which was set for 5:45 which is ridiculous to begin with.) I tried not to lose it when he knocked the oatmeal out of my hand and it landed with a loud, “Splat!” on the kitchen floor that I spent an hour mopping the day before. I tried to remain calm when Lilly had a screaming, hissing tantrum when I kindly asked her to leave her favorite stuffed animal, Carol and her blanket (that desperately needs to be washed) in her crib instead of dragging them downstairs with her. I tried to accommodate each of my kids as they yelled and screamed at me from their high chairs, suddenly forgetting all of the polite sign language like “more” and “please” that they have been using for the past six months. I tried to understand why Jake kicked and pouted when Daddy left for work, ignoring the fact that no one kicks or screams when Mommy leaves to go anywhere. I tried not to lose my patience when two kids attempted to crawl into my lap while curling my hair… seriously, that happened. I tried to keep my cool when Lilly went exploring in my closet and found a tube of shoe glue I have no recollection of ever purchasing. I tried not to freak out when she put the tube of shoe glue in her mouth. I tried to smile sweetly at Jake as he brought me all six pairs of my flip flops…. or at least the ones he could reach. I tried to look away when Lilly (the little helper that she is) tried to pull out Jake’s dirty diaper from the trash can. I tried to rationalize with my two 14 month olds about what “being nice” looks like as I witnessed Lilly stealing Jake’s board book, and then Jake grabbing Lilly’s pigtail and yanking it with every ounce of strength in his tiny body. Of course, screaming and very dramatic sobbing followed immediately.
At some point during my morning I decided it was best that we not go to church. It’s mornings like these that I fear others will see how my kids truly act and their cuteness will not outweigh their tendency to exhaust. I wasn’t sure I could put another human through that kind of cruelty. But, as I sat in front of my kids, wiping two runny noses caused by all the bickering I realized that I had to go to Bible Study…. I needed to go to Bible Study. As much as the knot in the pit of my stomach convinced me otherwise, I made the decision to do whatever it took to get the kids out the door and in the car.
As I ran downstairs to pack a few last minute items into our overflowing diaper bag that inevitably never has enough room for all of their stuff, I yelled, “God, you gotta help me with these children today! I need You to give me patience because I’m trying and it’s not working this morning!!” Now I am not in the habit of speaking to God, the Creator of the Universe in this manner on a daily basis, but He knows me, He gets me, and it was understood that I needed Him this morning. And it was an urgent matter!
Finally, we got in the car. As I put the car in reverse I realized that my radio station was cutting in and out which happens from time to time on overcast mornings. I knew I needed my music after a crazy morning like the one I just endured, so I mindlessly grabbed the first CD I could find. Glancing at the cover, I realized I had selected my absolute favorite Britt Nicole CD. I listened to it all the time while I was pregnant. Now if you know Britt Nicole, this is the type of CD that you can’t listen to softly. You can’t listen and NOT beat the steering wheel like you are playing the drums. You can’t listen without singing along. So what did I do? I cranked up the volume and completely left my morning behind.
As I was turning left to get on the highway, already feeling better about my decision to stick with our plans, I looked back at Lilly and saw the absolute picture of joy. This sweet little girl who had given me such grief just minutes before was dancing like crazy in her car seat. She had the head bob going on, both feet kicking, and she even threw in a clap here and there. Then, as if that wasn’t enough to totally change my day, I looked in the rear view mirror at Jake, behind me. He, too, was moving his head to the music and grinning from ear to ear. (You'll have to forgive me for not including a photo of this, and even if I was a skilled enough driver to actually capture this moment on camera and continue driving the three of us safely down the highway, I still don't think it would be enough to portray the true feeling I had in my heart as I looked back at my kids.)
In that moment, I tried. I really tried.
I tried to remember how many nights I fell asleep begging God to give me these precious children. I tried to see how perfect they are in His sight. I tried to picture how empty my life would be without these two holy messes! I tried to remember why I had gotten so flustered back at the house, and to my surprise, in that instant, I could not recall. Then I tried to let myself (and the two passengers in the backseat) off the hook and chalked it up to “one of those mornings.”
Minutes later, as I pulled into the church parking lot, I didn't even have to try. It was crystal clear to see how truly blessed I am.